In the previous screen, we brainstormed the roles and responsibilities for a successful online teacher. We will now start to look at how using an established educational framework can be effective in helping you to enact these roles and responsibilities and work towards the best achievement of learning outcomes for your students (Danielson, 2007).

In the previous section, we brainstormed the roles and responsibilities for a successful online teacher. We will now start to look at how using an established educational framework can be effective in helping you to enact these roles and responsibilities and work towards the best achievement of learning outcomes for your students (Danielson, 2007).

Key terms

Community of Inquiry framework: A social constructivist model of the...

Different frameworks and models have been developed to assist online teaching. This course focuses on the online Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework developed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000). An online community of inquiry is a 'group of individuals who collaboratively engage in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and confirm mutual understanding' (Garrison, Cleveland-Innes and Vaughan). The CoI framework views meaningful online learning as occurring at the intersection of three supporting presences.

Community of Inquiry (CoI)

A social constructivist model of the processes that support learning in an online environment.

online learning

Learning delivered primarily over the internet.

In the following activity, click on each pinpoint to learn about the three presences in the Community of Inquiry framework.

You will now be presented with more information about the three presences in the Community of Inquiry framework.

A diagram showing how the three presences combine to form a Community of Inquiry.


Social presence

Social presence is 'the ability of participants to identify with the community (e.g. on a course of study), communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities' (Garrison, 2009). Social presence is enhanced by open communication, group cohesion and affective expression.


Teaching presence

Teaching presence is 'the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realising personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes' (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001). Indicators of recognisable teaching presence include setting curriculum and methods and facilitating/focusing group discussion.


Cognitive presence

Cognitive presence is the extent to which learners are able to 'construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse' (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001). Indicators of cognitive presence are a sense of puzzlement, information exchange, connecting ideas and application of new ideas.


These three presences can be considered to intersect and overlap with each other:

  • The overlap/combination of all three presences is described as the overall educational experience
  • The overlap between social presence and cognitive presence is described as supporting discourse
  • The overlap between social presence and teaching presence is described as setting climate
  • The overlap between cognitive presence and teaching presence is described as selecting content.
Community of Inquiry icon

The reason that the CoI framework is valuable for this task is that at its core is the active presence of an online teacher, working towards active cognitive and social presence of all the participants. The focus is on the teacher and students collaboratively designing, facilitating, and directing the educational experience in an online course. The aim of this course is to equip you with practical knowledge and skills to carry out responsibilities inherent within an active teaching presence.

Teaching and teacher presence

Joubert (1842) stated, 'to teach is to learn twice'. This is why this element of the CoI framework is labelled teaching presence and not teacher presence. It is not just the teacher who is responsible for social and cognitive presence issues. All participants in a collaborative learning environment must assume various degrees of teaching responsibilities depending on the specific content, developmental level, and ability in an online course.

To learn more about the concept of teaching presence, watch the following interview with Dr. D. Randy Garrison, Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary, who coined this term.

To learn more about the concept of teaching presence, consider the following interview with Dr. D. Randy Garrison, Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary, who coined this term.

Click 'Play' to watch the video.

Useful links

Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D. R. & Archer, W. (2001) 'Assessing...

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Having considered Dr. D. Randy Garrison's explanation of the concept of teaching presence, take a moment to test your understanding of its three major components.

Having considered Dr. D. Randy Garrison's explanation of the concept of teaching presence, take a moment to consider your understanding of its three major components.

In the following activity, you will be presented with a series of teaching actions. In each case, click the item at the top and then click in the appropriate column according to whether you think it is an example of design and organisation, facilitation or direction and leadership (also referred to as 'direct instruction' by Dr. Randy Garrison).
You will now be presented with a list of teaching actions. Consider each action and decide which teaching presence component it demonstrates – design and organisation, facilitation or direction and leadership (also referred to as 'direct instruction' by Dr. Randy Garrison). Then continue on to check if you are correct.

Portfolio activity

Write out your own definition of teaching presence and explain...

PROGRAMME | Teaching Online
COURSE | Being a successful online teacher
UNIT | 1 : Introduction to online teaching
PAGE TITLE | The Community of Inquiry framework and teaching presence

Teaching actions

  • Encouraging student participation and a positive learning environment
  • Providing direct feedback
  • Designing learning activities
  • Negotiating shared personal meaning
  • Ensuring that students are able to access the online course materials
  • Providing a student orientation for the course
  • Ensuring students understand online etiquette
  • Setting assignment deadlines
  • Welcoming students to the online course
  • Creating discussion forum guidelines
  • Injecting new knowledge
  • Creating the course curriculum
  • Defining and initiating conceptual topics
  • Sending weekly 'to do' emails
  • Scaffolding discussion forums including summarising
  • Modelling engagement in the online course
  • Encouraging students to lead discussions
  • Assessing student progress
  • Questioning student conceptions
  • Encouraging reflection on different learning processes (e.g. individual and group assignments)
  • Supporting students to take 'risks'

Now check to see if you are correct:

Correctly categorised teaching actions

Design and organisation

  • Creating the course curriculum
  • Designing learning activities
  • Welcoming students to the online course
  • Ensuring that students are able to access the online course materials
  • Providing a student orientation for the course
  • Ensuring students understand online etiquette
  • Setting assignment deadlines
  • Creating discussion forum guidelines
  • Defining and initiating conceptual topics
  • Sending weekly 'to do' emails.

Facilitation

  • Encouraging student participation and a positive learning environment
  • Negotiating shared personal meaning
  • Scaffolding discussion forums including summarising
  • Modelling engagement in the online course.

Leadership

  • Encouraging students to lead discussions
  • Supporting students to take 'risks'
  • Questioning student conceptions
  • Providing direct feedback
  • Injecting new knowledge
  • Encouraging reflection on different learning processes (e.g. individual and group assignments)
  • Assessing student progress.
Portfolio icon

You may wish to paste the correctly-classified teaching actions into your Teaching Online portfolio for future reference.

Throughout this course you will be provided with practical advice and strategies for enacting the design, facilitation, and direction components of teaching presence. At this point, it is important to remember that the focus is on teaching rather than teacher presence, emphasising that the associated roles and responsibilities are shared with all members of a community of inquiry.


Key terms

Community of Inquiry framework: A social constructivist model of the processes which support learning in an online environment.

Social presence: The degree to which participants in online environments feel affectively connected to one another.

Cognitive presence: The extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning in online courses.

Teaching presence: The design and organisation of course materials and activities, facilitation of learning, and direction and leadership in online courses.

Useful links

Portfolio

Duration: 20 minutes

Write out your own definition of teaching presence and explain how you believe it will apply to your context as an online teacher. Refer back to these notes as you work through the course to remind yourself of your core goal.

Use the attached document to record your thoughts, or complete the relevant page of your Teaching Online portfolio.